“The dead cannot cry out for justice; it is a duty of the living to do so for them.” (Lois McMaster Bujold)
When any Police agency puts up an advertisement in the newspaper or a magazine for a police officer’s position, it often reads as: “Wanted: Police Officer to protect life and property and secure the safety of citizens. The work environment may be physically demanding, stressful and dangerous.” The inherent perils that come with the profession are not detailed in the job prerequisite. Whether an officer has been on the job for a day, a year, a decade, or more there is the ubiquitous chance of that officer being involved in a traumatic episode.
Beyond the yellow tape there is no exhilaration, but a chance for wisdom to triumph and ire to behold. What actually lies beyond the yellow tape is never observed by the public, let alone fully comprehended. Police Officer who is the first responder witnesses the trauma in its raw form, sometimes too grim for us to even imagine.
Caution tape, also known as warning tape, police tape, or construction tape is an enduring plastic tape of a signal color or highly contrasting color combination, such as yellow-black to capture the attention of the onlookers. This tape is used to secure the crime scenes by demonstrating that entrance will be refused to people who are not sanctioned to be in the area. The aim of the crime scene tape is to build a blockade that will avert contamination of the crime scene, and to make sure that a crime scene’s integrity is protected while a crime is investigated.
It is wrapped and fastened as a visible cautioning sign and demarcation against entering an unsafe area, such as road works construction site or the scene of an accident or a
crime, or against managing broken down machinery. It carries consistent alerts particularly noticeable in writing. The tape may refer to the particular agency doing the investigating, such as Police or a government agency concerned with national security and criminal investigations.
Caution Police tape does not always mean that a murder has taken place. It can mean many things, for instance, “break and enter” has taken place, or someone who lived there was taken to a hospital, and the person responsible for the crime might still be “at large”.
The Police tape is meant to protect the crime scene, officers and the public. The bright yellow plastic tape may say POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS or it may say CAUTION. These warnings are easy to understand and one would wonder why would anyone try to cross through the tape and into crime scenes and dangerous areas. Sadly it happens often. The officer on scene is responsible for anything good or bad that happens at that scene, and that officer will be held accountable for it. You can be arrested for meddling, hampering, and opposing a police officer for crossing a police line. This charge carries a possible prison sentence.
Police line tape is used to keep people away from a hazard. Downed power lines, gas leaks, fire scenes, barricaded gunmen or any number of hazards may need cordoning off an area. If the officer allows a citizen into a restricted area and he/she gets electrocuted by a downed power line, gets blown up lighting a cigarette near a gas leak, or gets shot by a barricaded gunman, the officer on duty will be held responsible. That officer who “failed to protect” the citizen could be liable under the civil law.
Citizens often demand entry into the restricted area since sometimes they are the homeowners near the hazard area or they do not want to travel out-of-the-way. Some people get annoyed. In this case, the police verbally cautions the public not to enter the scene. Some have to be physically barred from the scene, which is the last step before arrest.
Occasionally when people cross the threshold of a crime
scene, they can leave evidence behind and can take evidence from the scene with them. Also it is forensically significant that only the investigators who are collecting evidence be allowed in a crime scene, so that the evidence is not unintentionally adulterated.
In order for Justice to prevail, we must extend our full co-operation to the Police Officers.
“It is in justice that the ordering of society is centered.” (Aristotle)
© Samina Iqbal. 2013
- Man Who Scuffled With Cop At Murder Scene Cleared (miami.cbslocal.com)